Certified Counsellor Calgary - JESSICA VAN'T HOF

Individual Counselling, Couples Counselling, & Family Counselling

Licensing Info: Certified Canadian Counsellor (CCC) #10003277

Academic Credentials:

  • Master of Counselling, City University of Seattle
  • Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, Rhodes University, South Africa

Additional Training:

  • Somatic and Body Centered Practices
  • Humanistic and Experiential Therapy
  • Process-Oriented Psychology
  • Systemic Therapy & Collaborative Therapy
  • Mindfulness & Awareness Based Practices
  • The Gottman Method
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Types of Support Jessica Offers

Concerns related to:

  • Reconnecting Mind & Body
  • Healing Relationship Trauma
  • Couples Counselling
  • Addiction Counselling
  • Grief & Loss
  • Self-Defeating Patterns & Inner Conflict
  • Peak Performance Training
  • Depression
  • Emotional & Mood Disturbances
  • Family Counselling
  • Stress (& Nervous System Regulation)
  • Overeating / Binge-Eating
  • Psychosis
  • Rebuilding Trust & Intimacy
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Trauma & PTSD
Types of Support Jessica Offers

What do individuals generally find challenging about the process of therapy?

When we are in pain, it is not unusual to want to feel better, and seek a solution or quickly fix ourselves. Within the disturbing experiences, we pay a special kind of attention to the emerging experiences such that unique and precious ‘gold’ may become available and known. Coming to therapy is a courageous act. The process of therapy, and conversation with another may feel uncomfortable and unfamiliar. I will do my best to make the environment as comfortable as possible, and appreciate you reading this post and taking important steps to care for yourselves. The length of therapy is something you determine, however people may stop as soon as they feel better. Change may involve discomfort and growing pains. I encourage you to connect with yourself, and distinguish between feeling better and getting better. May you become your gold!

What training or specializations complement your work with individuals? What’s unique about your style?

I practice using humanistic and process-oriented counselling approaches, to address your lived experience through a gentle holistic lens. This work may include understanding unhealed childhood traumas, recognizing shame and external or internalized oppression, and bringing attention and care to your unfolding patterns and dilemmas. I believe in the body's ability to heal itself, and that what it expresses may be important. Experiences which lay outside the bell-shaped curve model of “typical health”, are welcomed, related to, and the counselling process includes discovering the unintended or unique meaning of your symptoms.

What do couples generally find challenging about the process of therapy?

In therapy at times, we may become convinced that what is needed is for the other person to be different or to change! Perhaps you resonate with the quote, “hell is other people” (Jean-Paul Sartre). Therapy, which is therapeutic, involves creating space to stay calm, be brave, swim together in murky or unknown waters, and at least temporarily suspend the conclusion that ‘the other’ is the problem. It is from a place of openness, when we do not feel an emotional threat, that creativity and deeper learning and knowing of each other can emerge. I see each member of a couple as a teacher, where love is increasingly knowing and being known by each other and teaching and learning together. This kind of therapeutic process is different from having your “day in court”.

What training or specializations complement your work with couples? What’s unique about your style?

When the important relationships in our lives are strained, thinned or ruptured, we often experience psychological and physical distress. Couples coming to sessions may feel unable to communicate with their loved ones without becoming reactive or defensive. Therapy from a relational perspective focuses on enabling constructive conversations to take place. Using a strengths based approach, together we focus on enhancing foundations needed for sustainable mutually satisfying and secure relationships. I pay attention to your body’s signals and to the atmosphere between you as a couple.

How will I know if you are a good fit for working with me?

Therapists can serve you in many different ways. It is wise that you are reading this and know how I work, so you can make an informed decision about whether I'd be a good fit for you.

Here's what you can expect from me:

I am a holistic, integrative, and non-pathologizing therapist. At the heart of my practice stands my belief that what is happening in your life is meaningful. From this perspective, I take time to understand what is happening, so that the meaning that is trying to be known can more fully emerge. I believe in you and your body’s ability to heal and that when you are anchored into safe and supportive relationships, healing inevitably begins to unfold. I take responsibility for managing the counselling process, and for helping you work with your ‘edges’, and notice both conscious ideas and unconscious messages from your body. The authority of what we do or do not do rests with you.

What led you to your work as a therapist?

I like to pay attention to the subtleties. My curiosity is drawn to uncover different layers of experience and meaning, and to explore “the feelings beneath the feelings” or the life force underneath more easily known and seen behaviours.

Growing up, I was sensitive to what was happening politically in South Africa (the country where I lived), as well as to what I perceived was occuring in relational spaces (the culture of my schools, my family, institutional and informal social settings). I would feel a lot. I noticed and responded when I witnessed bullying or discrimination. I saw and empathized with the pain of others. I had a responsive nervous system! I coped with these feelings by spending much of my time in deep thought, engaging in kinesthetic activities, and in the company of pets and nature.

In reading “M Scott Peck’s” popular book, The Road Less Traveled, I transitioned from working with horses to enrolling in a psychology program. Of particular interest were the themes of love and responsibility, and learning how some people find ways to break away from deeply ingrained automatic responses which hinder inner/outer connection.

Through my personal journey I was able to experience becoming more fully alive, spontaneous and to be my own author (authority), while embracing discipline and values that matter to me. I appreciate the sacred space of therapy and accompanying others with meaningful transformation and what matters most.